When talking about the Heart Disease, generally people think of coronary artery disease (narrowing of the arteries leading to the heart), but coronary artery disease is just one type of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease includes a number of conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart. They can include:
- Coronary artery disease (including heart attack)
- Abnormal heart rhythms or arrythmias
- Heart failure
- Heart valve disease
- Congenital Heart Disease
- Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)
- Pericardial disease
- Aorta disease and Marfan syndrome
- Vascular disease (blood vessel disease)
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. It is important to learn about your heart to help prevent Heart Disease. And, if you have cardiovascular disease, you can live a healthier, more active life by learning about your disease and treatments and by becoming an active participant in your care.
Most common or "classic" warning signals of a heart attack are :
- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms.
- Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
Less common warning signs of heart attack:
- Atypical chest pain, stomach or abdominal pain.
- Nausea or dizziness (without chest pain).
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing (without chest pain).
- Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue.
- Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness.
Not all these signs occur in every attack. Sometimes they go away and return.
If some occur, get help fast and call your emergency medical services.
Besides drinking (alcohol), eating fatty food, smoking, chewing tobacco, the following factors increase the risk of Heart Disease – some of which are fixed and some are modifiable by lifestyle.
Fixed risk factors includes,
- Older age (men over 45, women over 55)
- Gender (men are at higher risk at the same age)
- Family history of Heart Disease
Modifiable risk factors includes,
- High levels of fat in blood - i.e., high cholesterol and/ or triglyceride levels
- Lack of exercise
- High blood pressure, especially diastolic BP
- High levels of sugar in blood, insulin resistance and diabetes
- Identifying and treating people with established disease and those at very highrisk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Treating and rehabilitating patients who've had a heart attack or stroke to preventa second cardiovascular or cerebrovascular event.Heart or stroke patients can do this to help lower their risk of recurring disease
- Ask your doctor to suggest an appropriate level of exercisethat you can do for 30-60 minutes 3-4 times per week.
- Ask what your ideal weight is, and if you exceed it by more than 20 percent,ask your doctor to prescribe a diet and exercise program.
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you have high blood pressure,you may be put on medication. You'll also be told about weight control,physical activity, drinking alcohol and sodium intake.
- Ask your doctor if you should take aspirin daily or another medication.
- If you smoke, ask about counseling, nicotine replacement methods andformal cessation programs to help you quit.